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Posted on 05/02/2005 6:04:12 AM PDT by Calpernia
N.J. Rescue teams planned to resume their search Monday morning for the body of a boy scout who fell off a whale watching boat this weekend and is presumed drowned.
Nicholas Johs, 14, of Boy Scout Troop 26 of Staten Island, N.Y., fell off the Whale Watcher II at about 2 p.m. Saturday. At the time, the 90-foot boat was about 200 yards off Cape May Point, and the crew encountered some rough seas.
Witnesses told police that despite several warnings, Johs and some other troop members were jumping up and down in the front of the boat in time with the waves, trying to see how high they could get. About 30 people were aboard the boat when he fell, and Johs' father, Steven, and some troop members witnessed the accident, authorities said.
Someone quickly threw Johs a life preserver, but the youth could not reach it. Another passenger, 19-year-old Ralph Genovese of Lower Township, then dove into the water to try and rescue Johs, but could not reach him and was forced to turn back in the frigid 49-degree water.
Police and Coast Guard boats equipped with sonar searched for several hours Sunday in an area about 200 yards off Cape May Point called ``the rips,'' where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. However, rough seas forced them to suspend the search around 3 p.m.
Steve Jones, a state police spokesman, said a black T-shirt was found attached to the boat's propeller, but it was not clear if it belonged to Johs.
As a Cub Scout leader, that would be my worst nightmare to lose a kid. My experience with most Scouts is that they listen immediately to their leaders and usually obey pretty well.
I've also worked on a tour boat in Cape May. I checked the Whael Watcher II, it wasn't the same one I worked on. It was 20 years ago, but I don't remember any real rough seas. Maybe the Captain should have re-thougt putting out that day.
>>>>My experience with most Scouts is that they listen immediately to their leaders and usually obey pretty well.
Listen well normally or not. If these kids weren't use to being out on a boat, I don't think they had the perception to understand the dangers. Since they were jumping trying to enjoy the wave swells, I will assume they weren't use to being on a boat.
I don't think they weren't listening because they were unbehaved. I think they weren't listening because they didn't fully understand the dangers. They were excited. Even at 13 and 14, kids have a hard time with impulse control.
I've not seen any articles or heard anything on the radio news coverage that said they were wearing life preservers.
The "rips" don't give you much time to save anyone - especially an outgoing tide. The waves tend to break backwards over themselves - not pretty.
The tour boats in that area tend to be in the 90-110' range. Not the sort of boat that would normally require life preservers be worn. The photo on the whale watcher II website also looked like it had a 2' high solid rail, plus about 1' of pipe rail.
It sounds more like a rambunctious kid, minor negligence on the part of the Captain and a freak incident which led to tragedy. His father was on the boat, so you can't blame parental neglect.
>>> His father was on the boat, so you can't blame parental neglect.
It is a little more gruesome than that. His father *watched* him go over. My guess, from the radio reports, is his father was on his way over to him. Probably to calm him down or something. The father watched his son go over.
I can't nor do I ever want to imagine what that poor man is going through.
BSA policy requires personal flotation devices on BSA outings. The policy is more restrictive than Coast Guard requirements relating to the size of the vessel. IMO, the Scoutmaster is toast and the local council's insurance is gonna have to pay on this.
I just want to tell everyone to be very careful with the news medium. I just remind that their work is being done to make and sell stories. Do not be easielly persuaded by what you hear and see.
I can't talk about it anymore. Just inform yourself, don't become the laity.
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Thank you for the advice.
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